Getting the Most Out of Your Hat -- 6 Tips for Care and Cleaning

Getting the Most Out of Your Hat -- 6 Tips for Care and Cleaning

A great hat is an investment that you want to look its very best for as long as possible.  To make that happen, you've got to give your hat a little TLC!  

Here's what we suggest in the way of general hat care and cleaning:

1.  Focus on the shape

Your hat may not have a waistline, but it's got to stay in great shape!  If stored improperly, it doesn't take much for a hat to dent, bend, and stop fitting correctly.  If you can, store each hat on a peg or hook that's wide enough not to create any dimples.  If you have to store your hat on a flat surface (like a shelf in your closet), store it upside down so that the brim doesn't flatten out.  For long-term storage, invest in a hat box that supports both the brim and crown, while also protecting the hat from dust and moisture.

2.  Get the right brush

A simple brushing can work wonders for a dirty hat!  However, different hats require different brushes.  The best way to clean a fur felt or wool hat is with a soft bristle brush, while stiffer bristles work best on suede, leather, and silk hats.  For straw and sinamay hats, a gentle pass-over with a small whisk broom will remove dust and debris.

3.  Stay away from water

No matter what kind of hat you have, it won't enjoy being exposed to a torrential downpour!  If you get hit with a surprise from Mother Nature, shake off as much excess water as you can.  Don't automatically go running for a towel, though!  It's fine to gently wipe off a straw hat, but for fur felt, wool, suede, and leather hats, you'll need to brush off the water with the special brushes we just talked about.

Fabric and canvas hats can withstand a little bit of water, but only during a gentle hand-washing.  They won't appreciate a good soaking, either.

Whatever you do, don't use a hair dryer, your radiator, or your clothes dryer to dry your hat!  They'll all do a lot more harm than good.

4.  Harness the power of steam

If your sinamay, straw, or felt hat gets bent or dented, a little bit of steam can go a long way.  Simply hold the hat over a steaming tea kettle or near a clothes steamer for about 30 seconds.  Then, reshape the hat with your fingers.

You can use an iron on your straw hats to press out the damage.  Just use a low heat setting, or you'll burn the straw!

5.  Invest in a velvet pinch pad

Heat one up for a few seconds under your iron, and it will do a great job of polishing your silk hats.

6.  Use dry cornstarch

This household staple does a great job of removing grease stains.